Your Liberal Britain is renaming itself Hatch, as part of a move to try to better reach those liberals who do not yet view themselves as Liberal Democrats. This very much fits with the strategy I’ve long argued for – rebuilding the party with a core vote based on our values and reaching out to those who share our values but who currently don’t support us.
The move is explained in an email out to YLB supporters today from Jim Williams:
We’ve got some pretty exciting news! Your Liberal Britain is becoming Hatch.
Under the name Your Liberal Britain, we were the entirely unofficial digital activist movement within the Lib Dems. As Hatch, we’re now the campaign for powerful citizens. We’re here to help you fix your world.
Why? Well, we believe that there are millions of liberals in this country who love the idea of what this country could be – but who hate the direction it’s taking. And not only do they not trust politicians to solve it – they feel powerless to do anything about it themselves.
We live in a country where air pollution kills 10,000s every year. Freeloading multinationals pay a pittance in corporation tax, while levels of rough sleeping have increased by 169% since 2010. Britain promised to take in 3,000 child refugees, but barely managed 300. And that’s not even to mention Brexit.
People don’t need to stand by and watch all this happen. There are hundreds of steps we can all take to make a difference – from little changes in our behaviour all the way up to the incredible sacrifices that some people make day after day. We’re here to let you know what they are.
We can’t do this with the name Your Liberal Britain though, because so many people confused us with our party, the Liberal Democrats. So we’re creating our own identity.
What’s Our New Mission?
We’re here to help you fix your world. Online, we’ll be the digital magazine for practical, immediate ways you can steer the country in the right direction – or just do well by people in your area.
From action you can take to help rough sleepers and refugees in your community, to practical steps for how you can help stop Brexit, clean the air we breathe, and build fairer politics for all – and much more – Hatch is your partner.
What’s more, we’ll be on your team in person as well as online: we’ll help you take the Hatch approach to making change happen, whether with your community, your town or your organisation.
Millions of Brits care about these issues. Let’s help them act on them.
What Was Your Liberal Britain Anyway?
Your Liberal Britain did almost exactly the same work as Hatch, but confined to the Lib Dem family. We built an audience of around 10,000 Lib Dems, and helped them discover opportunities to get more done – and change the world around them – from within the party.
We were an entirely unofficial party body and campaigned for major reforms within the Lib Dems. Many of the recommendations that we made with Mark Pack in Reinventing the Liberal Democrats have been adopted by the party and fed directly into Vince Cable’s reforms. But the similarity of our name and branding made people think we were the same as the party, and limited our ability to reach outside its borders.
Hatch is an evolution of YLB. The party’s taken on many of our ideas: now it’s time for us to step out into the big wide world and fend for ourselves!
What Relationship Will We Have With The Lib Dems?
To be clear: Hatch is proudly liberal and strictly independent.
We are no longer a Lib Dem organisation, but we strongly feel that the UK needs the Lib Dems and we want them to do well. The Liberal Democrats are the only political party that share our values. Full stop.
That means that we won’t work with other political parties: we simply don’t consider them to be liberal. But we will occasionally work with individuals from other parties if doing so furthers our mission: to help liberals fix the world around them.
What does ‘work with’ mean, I hear you ask… Well, we’re not talking about elections here. We’re talking about collaborating with them on campaigns designed to help Britain’s millions of liberals build a better society, and celebrating them when they do so.
But politics is only one way people can fix the world around them. They can also achieve change through their communities and through charities or businesses, and much more, So we’ll also collaborate with a whole range of organisations – so long as they share liberal values.
Plus, we will keep keep Lib Dem regional parties and Parliamentarians as clients for our training and consultancy services: we will continue helping them run membership engagement events and campaigns; as well as creating volunteer groups to support the work of the Party’s Spokespeople.
More information about the Hatch team is up on the website, and you’ll see that I’m one of the newly formed team of trustees.